Wiley Acquires J&J Editorial; Open Road Revenue Is Up 22 Percent

In News by Porter Anderson

US industry notes: Wiley acquires peer-review specialist J&J Editorial, and Open Road announces first-half revenue gains in 2021.

Light subway traffic in Manhattan’s West 4th Street station, September 28. Image – Getty iStockphoto: Chain Gang Pictures

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

Jay Flynn: ‘Creating More Choices’
The international research and education publisher Wiley has announced today (October 4) its acquisition of the US peer-review management company J&J Editorial. The latter has its offices in Cary, North Carolina, while Wiley makes its announcements from its base in Hoboken, New Jersey.

Founded in 2008 by Jennifer Deyton and Julie Nash, J&J Editorial provides services in editorial operations, production, copy editing, system support, and consulting for more than 120 clients.

“Wiley is in the business of helping our customers and partners succeed,” says Jay Flynn, Wiley’s executive vice-president and general manager in research.

Jay Flynn

“Acquiring J&J Editorial underlines our promise to provide our partners with best-in-class solutions, from products and services to specialist expertise, creating more choice in the publishing ecosystem.”

Speaking for J&J, its co-founding senior partner, Jennifer Deyton, says, “This was a strategic decision that was made with two clear and long-standing goals in mind–to help us continue to deliver the high standard of service our clients expect, while simultaneously providing more opportunities and resources for our staff.”

Julie Nash, with Deyton J&J’s co-founding senior partner, says, “Culture fit was a major part of why we chose to join Wiley. Both Wiley and J&J leadership believe that success depends on supporting our people. As such, J&J will continue to be a people business, valuing our staff and clients above all else.”

Wiley’s J&J acquisition is the latest in a line of such moves that include purchasing Atypon, Hindawi, Madgex, mThree, zyBooks, and Knewton Alta.

Open Road: Revenue Gains Year-Over-Year

Having announced its acquisition of the UK publisher Bloodhound Books in July,  Open Road Integrated Media reports a year-over-year increase of 22 percent in revenue, January through July this year. The company calculates a 292-percent improvement in EDITDA this year.

“OR/M” is the latter-day (2016) logo-branding Open Road has gradually put into use in recent years to move past its beginnings as the 11,000-title vault of rich digital backlist that creator Jane Friedman created in 2009. It has solidified its new incarnation as a self-described “global marketing technology company” under Paul Slavin’s guidance. He arrived via ABC News, Disney, and Everyday Health in 2015 as president and became CEO in 2016.

In its new report, Open Road says it has 70 publishing partners in its program of genre-targeted newsletters, presenting some 37,000 titles to consumers through what it classifies as “a powerful consumer outreach vehicle, direct demand stimulation, strategic and tactical pricing, consumer segmentation and personalization, content syndication, metadata, and copy optimization.”

Mary McAveney

Open Road’s edition of the digital acceleration—prompted in world publishing by the ongoing coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic—has to do with discoverability. “As we continue to face supply chain issues and see consumers increasingly turning to digital discovery,” says the company’s Mary McAveney, “we remain extremely well-positioned to help our ever-growing list of publishing partners to leverage reader behavior to improve the success of their titles.”

A question that lies behind that digital-discoverability boost, of course, is how long a flight to digital shopping can be expected to continue at pandemic-era levels. As vaccination rates rise and more traditional commercial footfall presumably returns, how much of new or intensified digital e-commerce engagement will consumers carry forward?

Paul Slavin

This is a question for many in the book business, particularly in the markets that had strong digital infrastructure in place—and consumer bases fluent in accessing it—at the time of the pathogen’s arrival and the deepest spread-mitigation effort that followed.

Slavin’s statement on the January-to-July revenue news reflects the fact that Open Road was operating in that digital-ready environment. “We align ourselves to harness reader interest in the titles we manage,” he says in a prepared statement, “and this has created enormous triple-digit uplift for the titles and over 40-percent revenue increases for small and large businesses.

“Our tech and data provide the industry a real-time solution by enabling better discovery and showcases books and brands reaching 3 million readers monthly.”

More from Publishing Perspectives on Open Road Integrated Media is here, and more on marketing is here. More on Wiley is here, more on academic and scholarly publishing is here, and more from us on mergers and acquisitions is here

More on the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international book publishing is here

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with CNN.com, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.